Last week's Saturday Writing Essential prompt was to explain how one writes.
When I write, I have several different avenues that I take, depending on the subject matter. I, as a general rule, write fictional stories, medical essays, and fictionalized memoirs.
When writing fiction, like my "Dixie Black" series, I write in a "stream of consciousness" manner. I tend to take a prompt, and imagine the character in that particular situation, and flow with it. I generally do not know where this train of thought will take me until I have succeeded in putting it on the page.
For example, in a three part arc, "Dixie Helps a Friend", Dixie attempts to help her friend Carol get away from her abusive husband without being left penniless. In part two of the story, Dixie hatches an elaborate plan to entrap the husband in a sexual encounter, complete with pictures for the court to use against him. Part two ended on an upbeat, happy note.
That did not sit well with me, as I have rarely known an abusive relationship which ended on a positive note, but that is where my mind took me as I wrote the saga. I knew I wanted part three of the story to take a darker tone, but until I sat at my computer writing the first sentence of the tale.
I actually did not know the outcome until I was at that exact junction where a decision had to be made.
Right or left? Up or down? In or out? These decisions take a fictional work in opposite directions, and sometimes I imagine each prior to actually typing a word, then occasionally delete entire pages when a scenario isn't heading down the path it naturally wants to go. I am a firm believer in letting the situation or character drive the action in a sequence of events.
I have written several "fictionalized memoirs" of patients I have cared for in the past. I take their stories, and change the name, and just enough personal information to make the piece unrecognizable , should that patient's family or friends happen upon the story. as a nurse, I am bound by HIPAA law to maintain confidentiality of a patient's personal information at all times.
First of all, I need an idea. I tend to write about current topical events, such as the H1N1 issue, Hospice or other subjects I feel need discussed or clarified, generally taking a cue from another article I have read on the subject matter.
When I read an article which I feel is either sensationalistic on a subject, or downright wrong, I then set out to clarify the information, by producing facts, data and concrete proof set in essay form.
When writing essays on factual events, or a tutorial on a subject, research comes first. I will peruse the CDC web site, WHO site, my own medical journals/magazines and web sites related to the topic before writing a word. I will occasionally cut and paste ideas or points I have taken from an article, to Word Pad, as a point of reference, but only to refer to, as I try to make each article my own.
Yes, I do include quotes from other sources if the article needs some higher plane of validation than I can give it in my own words.
There you have it, how I get from point A to point B in my writing.